I just discovered - I'm a bit late to the party, I know - the coolest cartoonist slash designer slash doodler. Andre Jordan is a depressed Brit with a super dark sense of humor and a powerful pen. Behold:
Can someone please explain why I keep getting emails from Papyrus about Atonement? I'm finding it really hard to figure out what they have in common. Now that the DVD is out, I'm really hoping this wierd promotion is now over.
I have no idea how I missed this one, but miss it I did. Last month I looked at a couple of e-card sites but only recently discovered what is now my favorite - someecards.com. It certainly isn't because of the wide range of design styles [there is one style, period], but because it's funny as hell.
Created by two ad agency guys, someecards.com looks as though it's trying to fly under the radar with its low-key, distinctly unflashy site - but they aren't fooling anyone. Click on the small 'press' link in the bottom right-hand corner and you'll see it's been featured everywhere, and although there is just the tiniest bit of 'we're too cool for school' about it, I do think it's really, really clever.
The site is easy to use - just enter the text and recipient info [screen shot above]. The message as it appears to the recipient is a bit hard to see [screen shot below] - and I wish the message was rendered directly on the card, as I've seen on some other sites. I guess I'll just have to settle for hysterically funny desert-dry wit in the meantime.
It's been a while since my last post because I recently got married, and since I loathe planning events of any kind, I was completely buried. My lack of preparation notwithstanding, I think everyone had a good time. They are my friends, so they are obligated to lie even if they didn't.
The most important element of wedding planning was the invitations - I AM a paper freak, remember. Indulge me for a moment while I show you the design genius of Heather Perlman, whom I can never praise highly enough. It's a pretty simple invitation as far as actual production goes; it's not letterpressed or engraved but offset printed. There are three things about it that I particularly like:
As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of designing the back of stationery as well as the front. It's unused real estate, and I hate seeing an plain white back whether it's on a wedding invitation or a business card. Heather took the subtle design onto the back, which provided me with a nice space on which to write a personal note.
I hate the onmipresent m________________ line on most rsvps. There's never room enough on the line for my big handwriting, and I just don't like how it looks. I've seen, albeit rarely, rsvps that leave the line off, which begs the question of whether people will actually figure out what to do. Since I don't think people are generally that stupid, we left the line off the invite and I'm happy to report that only 2 people didn't include their name. Good thing they regretfully could not attend!
Instead of going bigger than an average size, we decided to go smaller. Heather designed a tri-fold accordion style invite which, along with an rsvp and directions, fit well in an A2 envelope. The size is sophisticated and understated, and I like that it's a little different from what people might expect to see.
Now if only Heather had planned the rest of the wedding, my life would have been so much easier...
I admit it - I'm a flipper. And I bet I'm not the only one.
Flipping is the fine art of picking up a greeting card, admiring [or despising] it's design, and then turning it over to read the back. The back is very valuable real estate and it surprises me that more artists don't seem to realize this. It's an opportunity to give the browser a peek at the person [or company] behind the design - something that goes just a little deeper than a name and website. I like the way Leila Rezai from Looky-Loo carries a creative element from the front onto the back:
Even when this space is used, I find it really disappointing when it's not done in a manner consistent with the rest of the card. I understand the constraints - after all, how beautiful can a UPC code really be? - but there are too many times when the back is a cluttered mess of different typefaces, competing bits of information and other graphics. I think it looks cheap; like every drugstore card I've ever seen.
Some designers reward the practice of flipping and add a little bonus for those of us who look. Even adding a simple line, like Stacy Pancake does, works.
My favorite cards to flip, without a doubt, are Heather Perlman's for Dairy. She has the greatest sense of humor: wicked, clever and understated all at once. That is not an easy thing to pull off. You'll see a lot more of Heather's work in subsequent posts.
Hopefully she'll forgive me for these crappy low-res photos that don't do these cards justice.
I also like when there's a toughtful detail where you least expect it. Tiger & Jones uses not only the back of their stationery to display their branding but the envelope as well - and it looks really elegant.
Send me some of your own examples and I'll post them for everyone to see.
I'm really thrilled that the creators of TypePad, the blogging platform that enables tech idiots like me to actually publish on the web, have chosen Unfold UK as today's featured blog. Many thanks to them and to my new readers - I'd love to hear from you so post a comment or drop a line! I speak both British and American, so there's a good chance I'll understand you, although there are no guarantees... British English can get a bit tough sometimes...
Ah, the US Postal Service. Such a well-organized, friendly bunch they are... until they decide to raise their rates for the second time in two years. This is a general pain in the ass for both consumers and for those of us in the business of written correspondence.
On the whole, I'm a fan of the post office because they are usually reliable and relatively cheap. Their website is easy to use, and anything that saves me a trip to the post office is a good thing indeed. But why do they have to make the mundane task of sending a piece of mail so annoying? It's not the two cents I'm moaning about, it's just the process of getting new stamps or doubling up on your old stamps - and wasting money - that irks me.
The charge for sending square cards is going up as well. There's always been a surcharge for items, like square envelopes, that have to be hand-cancelled. This has long been a dirty little secret among retailers who want to sell their stock since many consumers aren't aware of the additional cost until the card they've sent has been returned due to insufficient postage. Designers like working with a square shape because it's symmetrical, smaller and different. Consumers like it for many of the same reasons, and now it'll cost 58¢ to send. No wonder the shape is so popular in the UK; you don't have to plaster the outside of the envelope with a ton of different stamps since the cost of sending is no different from any other letter.
Which brings us to the heart of the matter, and the real [albeit shallow] reason I'm aggravated. Raising the rates forces me to slap another 2¢ stamp on the envelope, and I hate the way it looks!
I've met a lot of very talented, smart and fun people in the greeting card/stationery industry, from designers and retailers to people who simply love stationery. Since starting Soleberry.com as an online paper boutique in 2004, I've learned more than I ever thought I would about exactly what goes into creating, packaging, marketing and delivering greeting cards and all other manner of paper products. And I love it.
Last summer I moved to England and have gotten to know some of the players on the UK paper scene too. Unfold UK is about the people on both sides of the pond that make the industry great. I want to hear how they started, what they are working on, how they are selling their product and the clever things they are doing. I want to know what's ahead - what's the next big trend? And what just won't die? Of course, I also want to know what trash TV they are watching, since we can't all be working all of the time.